Is Seeing Believing?
Popular Culture & Magazines
14 Of The Most Airbrushed Celebrity Pics (See The Before
New York Times on
graphic designers retouch cover images
Doctored magazine covers
(ABC News slideshow)
Mistakenly reveals photoshop process/
"We Agree Our Retouching has been overzealous"
Michelle Obama's gown digitally altered for
modesty by Iranian news agency (Source)
||NR admits altering cover image and wrongfully crediting the image to
Jennifer Love Hewitt’s ample curves were drastically dialed down
in a new advertisement for her upcoming show, “The Client List.”
Two ads promoting the Lifetime series were released — one showing
Hewitt in her natural form, and another in which the actress appears
to have undergone a serious breast reduction.
Photoshopping in advertising is nothing new — but it’s usually to
enhance curves, not flatten them.
Source (April 2012)
People magazine says cover is a fake (December 2011)
|A tumblr called
lourtneycove posted these before and after photos of Perry’s
cover. While the post has since been taken down, it was reblogged
sufficiently that we were able to pull both images — both of which look
like they’ve had some alteration done to them. But there’s a stark
difference in the first image and the second one. Notice how Perry’s
breasts have been lifted, how the skin on her stomach and face have been
smoothed over. Her fingers have been repositioned and there’s still
something weird going on with her hair. Her right leg must have really
angered the people who did the retouching, because the thigh was slimmed
considerably and the sock she was wearing has been digitally taken away.
Duchess Kate hardly seems a candidate to have her figure doctored to
look even thinner in a photograph.
But an Italian women’s fashion magazine has admitted it inadvertently
did just that in a cover photo of the royal bride.
Responding to a complaint that the May 9 special collector’s issue of
Grazia magazine showed The Duchess of Cambridge looking artificially
slimmer, Britain’s Press Complaints Commission investigated the
magazine’s process for the Kate cover photo and found that indeed,
Kate’s already wispy waist was whittled down further.
Jezebel claims magazine photoshopped cover
Economist Alters Obama Photo On Cover (story
Lance Armstrong rips magazine for photoshopping his t shirt
|The seven-time Tour de France champion
appears on the cover of the magazine's July issue wearing a T-shirt that
reads "38. BFD.". The number refers to Armstrong's age and the letters
are an acronym for "big [expletive] deal". Only thing is,
Armstrong never wore that shirt. (Source: Yahoo News)
Britney Spears bravely agrees to release
un-airbrushed images of herself next to the digitally-altered versions
actress' armpit has been airbrushed away in this issue of GQ in the UK
||another celebrity claims her image on
the cover has been photoshopped:
"They doctored and Photoshopped my
body to make it look like I have already lost all the weight, which I
Controversy grows over Demi Moore "W" Mag Cover
criticized for photoshop of model's arms/waistline; complete
(Source: photoshopdisasters blog)
The Sun (UK)
compares and contrasts photos of Mischa Barton
Questions raised about the actress in this Chanel perfume ad.
Website claims magazine altered dress color
says Madonna's arms were photoshopped
Self Mag admits photoshopping Kelly Clarkson cover (Source; Access
We're not pointing any fingers at Kelly Clarkson, but we were surprised when
we saw September's issue of SELF. The fitness magazine shows Clarkson
slim and trim, even though recent photos of her show a completely different
Has the magazine gone too far with its photoshop skills? (Source)
Bundchen appears in an advertising campaign
for London Fog Worldwide (Newscom)
The supermodel and wife
of football star Tom
Brady bares her belly
and just about
everything else in a new
set of ads for
London Fog. Considering
she's carrying a child,
she looks suspiciously
A London Fog spokeswoman
told Women's Wear Daily
that the company
baby bump out of the ads
to "respect her
of the photo shoot
reveals Bündchen wore
underwear that was also
digitally removed from
the campaign. (Source)
Pixcetera says Hayden Panettiere's face is way out
of proportion to her body (due to bad photoshopping)
What do you think?
points out Photoshop errors, like missing leg below
I have not seen this one on the web, but I swear they've enlarged
Zac Efron's head...it looks way out of proportion to his body.
Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue (February 2009)
popular NASCAR driver Danica Patrick's American flag tattoo is airbrushed away
(photo source: TMZ.com;
story from FOX Sports)
Interesting because they left it in (below) when she appeared in the mag
November 4, 2008
Kate Winslet looked great in her new Vanity
Fair photo spread? The multiple Oscar
nominee did too and she's speaking out
against critics that say her great shape is
nothing more than the work of photo editing
papers in Britain have gone to great lengths
in extensive articles to say that Vanity
Fair doctored the photos of Winslet for
their new issue.
L'Oreal denies lightening
Beyonce's skin in ad
NEW YORK (AP) — Cosmetics
giant L'Oreal is denying it lightened Beyonce's skin tone in
"We highly value our
relationship with Ms. Knowles. It is categorically untrue
that L'Oreal Paris altered Ms. Knowles' features or skin
tone in the campaign for Feria hair color," the Paris-based
company said in a statement sent to the Associated Press
through the singer's representative.
The ad is in the current
edition of Elle magazine.
L'Oreal, the maker of
Garnier hair care and Lancome cosmetics, is the world's
largest cosmetics maker.
A representative for
Beyonce said the singer would have no comment beyond
Beyonce has been a
spokeswoman for L'Oreal since 2001.
Was the People Magazine
(August 5, 2008)
We are so over two things right now. One is the discussion of how much
People Magazine paid for the Pitt-Jolie-clan cover shot (more than $14
mil, in case you managed not to hear). The other is the constant
Photoshop intervention in magazine covers. Now a few articles that cover
our two least favorite things are making the rounds of the Web. Said
articles speculate that
MAYBE the babies aren't as cute as they seem on the cover.
Did People's Photoshoppers
PASTE ON baby Vivienne's smile? Maybe they did, if the evidence
involving a citation from Parenting mag, which alleges that "babies
don't smile from external stimulation until 2-4 months," is enough to
prove the point. The articles also speculate that maybe the babies were
just born weeks ago, which is why they're able to smile, and that
Brangelina just didn't tell us. Either way, the celebrity couple is
lying, it would seem.
Well maybe the li'l ones were burping. Or maybe the photographers were
just really patient.
Web site claims that this one is also PhotoShopped big time...like
is she screwing her head onto her body?
As our bros over at Boing Boing point out,
MC looks "cobbled together from a dumpsterful of broken gynoids,
unscrewing [her] own head."
Entertainment Weekly's Q&A with
Angelina Jolie is unremarkable—except for the remarkably
unflattering photograph the magazine uses for its cover. Now it could be
that EW wanted an image that matched in spirit the "candid
interview" touted in the coverline. But I thought the Hollywood
publicists demanded photo approval when negotiating interviews—even when
they're pushing a movie such as Jolie's forthcoming Wanted (watch
a chase from the movie, here). On the EW cover, the screen
beauty's chin juts forward; lighting from above has left a shadow under
her nose; the pores haven't been smoothed out in retouching; and there's
a mole on her forehead. Well, there was one the issue itself (scan at
left) under the letter "r"—in the same photo
the magazine's website (right), however, the spot isn't visible. Did
EW bring out the photoshop only after the issue had gone to the
printers? (After the jump, the cover and Angelina Jolie's blemishes in
Actress cries foul: says photos of her were doctored
||(May 9) - The
unflattering paparazzi shots of a
cellulite-riddled Mischa Barton may be fake. According to
the actress' rep, the photos, taken by Australian photographer Jamie
Fawcett, were photoshopped.
"Those photos are doctored. I'm not saying she's perfect, nobody is. But
they've given a 22-year-old woman the legs and bottom of an
80-year-old," Lisa Perkins, Barton's representative tells the
New York Daily News.
"Look at the shots that were taken shortly before on a beach in L.A. Did
she develop all that cellulite in a couple of weeks? There's a lot you
can do with Photoshopping," she added.
The former 'O.C.' star also
speaks out against the photographs
and criticism she's received.
"Every woman has cellulite. I've never claimed to have a perfect body. I
eat healthy, I work out. I feel very comfortable. I come from a European
family that's always very comfortable with their bodies. You are what
you are as a woman," Barton said.
National Geographic Magazine Altered for April Fool's Day
BOSTON - It looks like a typical
National Geographic cover with the signature yellow border.
Paris Hilton doing on there? The folks at
Harvard Lampoon persuaded employees of one of the nation's
most respected magazines to help them ensure their April Fool's
parody — with satire on
Mongolia's wildest waterparks and "Native Girls Gone Wild" —
The issue, coming out Tuesday, is
the latest in a string of Harvard Lampoon magazine parodies. But the
undergraduate group had never done National Geographic, which
quickly responded when contacted by the students last summer.
|The magazine cover even
admits it's a fake image
|A black Kate Moss on the
Red Independent sparked controversy (source)
Ugly Betty Star on Glamour Cover -
charges of digital
Maclean's (Canada) Cover October 2007
French magazine airbrushes waistline of French President (Aug 2007)
Paris-Match, via Libération
spread in the French, celebrity-gossip magazine Paris Match
whose photo retouching eliminated Sarkozy's "love handles"
Full explanation of the altered Redbook
cover can be found
- Erased lines around the eyes,
- Added hair on top of her head
- Removed some of her upper back shoulder area--a little "hump"
- Removed part of the upper shoulder and arm so you can now see the
shoulder strap on the dress
- Made her thinner in the waist
- Removed her hand ... no manicure
- Made her arm skinnier around the elbow area
- Changed her left ear
- Removed some of her "sit upon"
- Removed some flesh at the back of the dress
- Altered the cheeks
||"Little did I know I have 22-inch guns and
a disappearing birthmark on my right arm," tennis star Andy Roddick, 24,
wrote on his
blog after seeing the May 2007 issue of Men's Fitness, which
features him with a body that had been artificially bulked up, the
New York Post reports.
Reps for Men's Fitness told the Post that the cover image
featured an enhancement of Roddick's arms, and was not a Photoshopped image
with Roddick's head on a different body.
(click image to enlarge
From NY Post)
ANGELINA Jolie has come in for
some cover doctoring. The latest issue of In Touch features
Jolie on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, showing her
usually veiny arm looking silky smooth.
Unfortunately for In Touch, a
nearly identical photo of Jolie appeared on page 58 of the
current issue of People, which clearly showed the veins - in an
editor-in-chief of In Touch, was unapologetic when Media Ink
called. "You're right, we softened those veins. The arm was
very, very veiny."
He said he felt no qualms, even
if journalistic purists decry doctoring of cover photos. "I
think they can forgive it for the cover - unless it is a story
specifically about their body," he said. "This was about her
plans to expand her family."
He said such practices are
commonplace. "If someone's teeth are a little yellow or they are
a little wrinkled or they have a rash, we'll smooth them out,"
reports on this
Vanity Fair magazine photo in which Peter Arnett (left) is nudged into the left
April 28: Star magazine is finding itself
the subject of sensational headlines Thursday after the glossy faked
photos of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie on a beach together.
Posted on Yahoo.com
|With bitter rival Us Weekly
reportedly paying upwards of $1 million to lockup exclusive U.S. rights
for the actual paparazzi-taken photos of the are-they-or-aren't-they
couple of the moment, Star wasn't to be outdone. The magazine ran
its own photos of the tandem lovingly gazing at each other. But the
images, which grace the cover and appear on page 46, are actually
Nowhere is it mentioned on the cover that
the image was cobbled together. Pitt's pic came from a Caribbean beach,
while Jolie's was snapped over a year ago on a beach in Virginia.
Photoshop them together and voil--African beach shot!
Star cops to the photo composite
in small print on page 46.
||The March 6, 2005 issue of Newsweek uses Stewart's head and a model's body.
Newsweek disclosed that the cover was a photo illustration – or composite – on page 3 of the magazine in a credit line.
Related story here; op-ed;
Newsweek changes policy;
Alters Cover Photo (Oct. 27)
Admits Retouching Cover Photo
"I can tell you they've reduced the size of my
legs by about a third," says Kate about the
image of her used on the cover of GQ
left before digital alteration (right)
NPR Story, All Things Considered, December
"....(singer Whitney Houston) admitted on television (speaking to Diane
Sawyer on ABC TV) that she had a drug problem and had lost weight, not
because of an eating disorder. Nonetheless, she said she became so thin
that during an appearance on a Michael Jackson tribute special, she was
altered (by Digital Domain) to look heavier than she actually
Here is one I use exclusively in my workshops. I
ask my audience if they believe
these two men were photographed together. (They weren't.) The photographer credit
on the Table of Contents page reads: "cover photos by....."
not the magazine cover
|"when Allen Iverson
appeared on the NBA's Inside Stuff magazine in 1998, the tattoo on his
left arm was strategically cropped out of the photo. And when the
Philadelphia 76ers guard appeared on Hoop Magazine a year later, gone were
his earrings and neck tattoo thanks to the magic of modern-day computer
technology. Even the artwork on his arms was curiously obscured by
Harper's Bazaar combines elements to
create cover portrait of
Princess Caroline of Monaco (1996)
June 17 New York Times (as quoted in
"Nucleus Imaging ... took
Karl Lagerfeld's photos of Princess Caroline of Monaco and made a cover
for Harper's Bazaar by grafting skin from one frame, hair from
another, the face from yet another, and the body from another. It was
done with a Macintosh and a silicone graphics computer."
"Ultimately, digital imaging is another gadget in the photographer’s
camera bag," says Jon Rosen, the owner of Nucleus Imaging. "Photography
was always filled with illusions." (quote from
NI brochure online)
Sports Illustrated for Kids (August 1995)
inside the magazine explains "How we created the cover"
by taking a 1931 photo of Lou Gehrig (with Babe Ruth)
and positioning Baltimore Oriole Cal Ripken (1995) in Ruth's place
magazine created an artificial model, "an
extraordinary image of great American beauty,"
for the cover of their September 1994 issue
Digital Retouching Portfolio
Covers: A Police Photo vs. a 'Photo-Illustration'
(see NY Times, June 21, 1994)
April 4, 1994 TIME Magazine cover image
The Columbia Journalism Review explains why it gave TIME a dart:
Time magazine, for taking its readers for a ride in a time machine.
Filling up the space behind its April 4 cover line, "DEEP WATER: How the
President's Men Tried to Hinder the Whitewater Investigation," was a photo
purporting to capture the White House in the throes of Whitewater despair --
Clinton clutching head in hands, Stephanopoulos staring stonily into the abyss.
In fact, as an angry administration soon made clear, the photo had nothing
whatsoever to do with Whitewater and was, in fact, a relic from the past,
having been taken last November at a meeting in which the president and
aides were wrestling with problems in scheduling the president's time. The
warped defense of Time spokesman Robert Pondiscio, as quoted in The
Washington Post: "I don't think the readers of Time expect the cover photo
is going to be a representation of that event."
1990 Cover of actress Michelle Pfeiffer retouched
When Michelle Pfeiffer appeared on the cover of Esquire
in 1990 in
a low cut red dress, the caption beside the photo read "What Michelle
Pfeiffer Needs . . . Is Absolutely Nothing." Yet, the magazine's editors
must have forgotten to specify something to their readers. Adbusters
Quarterly revealed the manipulation and claimed that what Pfeiffer
actually needed was $1,525 in touch-ups. That's what Diane Scott Associates,
Inc. charged Esquire for the following work, described in a purchase
order obtained and reprinted by Adbusters "Clean up complexion,
soften eye lines, soften smile line, add color to lips, trim chin, remove neck
lines, soften line under ear lobe . . . remove stray hair . . . adjust color
and add hair on top of head . . . add dress on side to create better line . .
Source: Adbusters Quarterly, Summer 1995, vol.3, No. 4
Murky Road of Digital Retouching
||TV Guide (August 26, 1989)
pastes Oprah's head onto Ann Margaret's
National Geographic magazine (Feb.1982)
uses digital technology to nudge two pyramids so that they fit on the cover.
National Geographic had a horizontal
photo of the pyramids in Egypt and wanted to make a vertical cover from
it. They put the photo in a computer and squeezed the pyramids together
- a difficult task in real life but an easy task for the computer. They
referred to it as the "retroactive repositioning of the
photographer," (one of the great euphemisms of our age) saying that
if the photographer had been a little to one side or the other, this is
what he would have gotten. The photographer was not 10 feet to the right
and he did not get the photo they wanted so they created a visual lie.
Source: www.chc.qld.edu.au/ed134/ download/ppt/Lecture06_GraphicsNotes.ppt